Mike Minor takes the mound against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night looking to build on an All-Star caliber season.
The left-hander has been the ace of the Atlanta Braves‘ pitching staff to this point in posting a 7-2 record and 2.48 ERA.
Among National League starters, Minor ranks in the top-10 in wins and ERA and tied for the lead in WHIP (0.92). Minor has joined the conversation with Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, Patrick Corbin, Jeff Locke (Minor’s counterpart on Tuesday) and Madison Bumgarner as one of the league’s best left-handed pitchers and deserves strong consideration for the All-Star Game.
I doubt many Braves’ fans would expect to hear that as he entered June with a 2-4 and 6.98 ERA just a season ago.
To get chosen to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game, Minor will need to continue his strong pitching with the Pirates as the next opponent. Despite the Pirates’ winning record (35-23), they have had their struggles at the plate, ranking 10th or worse in the National League in runs scored (216), batting average (.240), on-base percentage (.305) and OPS (.687).
To continue that trend, Minor will need to limit the production from star outfielders Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen. Marte leads the team from the leadoff spot with a .291 batting average and is second with a .359 OBP. McCutchen has started slow by his standards — .284/7/28 — but is still one of the more dangerous hitters in the National League. Minor has held him hitless in just six career plate appearances.
If Minor keeps those two in check on Tuesday, I’d expect him to strengthen him All-Star resume.